It’s hard to start a blog on a witty note when your race director has already trumped you with a race name like Dirty Girls.
This 24 hour race was my goal race for the year. The format is a “run as far as you can” in a 24 hour period on an 8km loop, meaning that technically it was impossible to DNF. Based on my last two races this isn’t a bad thing. However after dropping out of Limberlost because I was sick of looping past the start finish area the prospect of 15 laps at Dirty Girls had been weighing heavy on my mind.
The race was held at the Mansfield Outdoor center. The trail was not too technical and had some excellent downs to run. Also it was sandy, which was lucky as after a summer of sunshine it had decided to piss it down in the days leading up to the race and without the sand it would have been a mud bath. There were two aid stations one at the start/finish and one at the midway point, the guys running these were incredible, so much fun and so helpful, and also very willing to point out when it was time to get my ass in gear and run some more.
I started the race faster than planned but felt great and pretty much abandoned the race plan that Geoff and I had meticulously crafted when I am pretty sure we should both have been doing our day jobs. I decided that I would just run by feel and let the cards land where they may, after all my very expensive GPS watch was measuring the course short every lap so it was close to useless especially as I had based my race plan on using average pace!!! Geoff and I had decided to run separately, I think our performances in the last races had us worried that we would have a negative impact on the others race. It did however make me smile when on my second lap Heather told me Geoff was also running well ahead of pace, wow what a lot of time we had pissed away on race plans.
The day time laps were pretty uneventful, met loads of great people to chat to, and honestly time was just flying by, ultra runners are awesome fun, and the more I talk to some the saner I seem in comparison. Also the laps were not having a negative impact at all, quite the opposite, at the 6 km mark I found myself getting excited to see Heather and find out all the happenings in “HQ”, seems that as long as I am getting plenty of attention I can do loops!! Plus we had a great race camp set up, even though I think it traumatized Heather how much Geoff and I could stink up mesh tent. I did have a rough daytime lap where I questioned my ability to get the race done, and ridiculously it was lap 3. I was feeling heavy and very slow, took some analyzing before I realized I had attempted to take on far too many calories, bit of ginger ale to settle my stomach and a couple of food free laps and I was a happy camper once more.
Heather jumped in as my pacer for the night time loops. However not before I ran a dark lap on my own, something very very odd happened on this lap, I hallucinated. I have read about this happening in ultras but typically people seem to have to run for longer than I had been at this point, my brain didn’t seem to care for this fact. So what did I see? Well suddenly in the middle of the forest there was Alex (Heather’s cousin) slacklining (you tube it). It was a strange sensation as I knew that it couldn’t possibly be right, a good shake of my head and I realized the slackline was in fact caution tape to keep me on course, however it took a couple more good shakes before Alex disappeared into the shadows, on each subsequent lap I made sure to say hi to Alex at this point on the course.
Having Heather with me was fantastic, keeping me in a happy place, pointing out when I could be moving faster and gently nudging me into eating when I decided it wasn’t really necessary. I loved sharing this with her and can’t wait to return the favor in Arizona. Also she kept the hallucinations at bay!!!
Oh yeah so the outcome of all this, I ran 120k in 22 hours 44 minutes and got me a kick ass belt buckle (which I am wearing as I type this). Geoff also got himself a shiny buckle, all in all I think we are two pretty happy chaps.
End of race report, for the few that enjoy my over disclosure on the physical impacts of the race read on.
Baboon butt, yep got me some more of that, this time complimented with some rather fetching chaffing of my gentleman parts (meat and potatoes).
Not quite as traumatizing but no less painful I got me some arm and armpit chaffing. Which I have been treating with diaper rash cream, so that baby’s bottom smell in the office is me, all be it a clean bottom.
Pooped twice, just saying.
Pair of little toe blisters, which were actually really unimpressive when I finally took my socks off, glad I didn’t complain about those too much.
And puked once, on the last lap, a colourful mix of peanut M&M’S and coke.